2020 MLB Home Run Over/Under Best Bets: Pete Alonso Leads Majors at 18.5; Harper Set at 12.5

Phillies OF Bryce Harper running the bases.

With a shortened 2020 MLB season around the corner, Bryce Harper’s over/under for home runs is low by his standards. Is he worth buying? Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire.
  • Home-run totals are out for all the heavy hitters in the 60-game MLB season
  • The NY Mets’ Pete Alonso currently has the highest total at 18.5, two more than any other player
  • We explore some value plays for the 2020 MLB season

In a few weeks, Major League Baseball will be back in full swing, and you know what that means …

Home runs. Long-balls. DINGERS!

With MLB set to officially start its 60-game 2020 season on July 23, the heavy hitters of summer will be back. Home run totals won’t be quite as lofty as years past, but there will be plenty of round-trippers regardless. Sportsbooks have now posted home-run total over/unders for basically every power hitter in the league.

2020 Home Run Over/Unders

Player, Team Home Run Total & Odds FanGraphs Steamer Projected HRs
Pete Alonso, NYM 18.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 16
Cody Bellinger, LAD 16.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 15
Yordan Alvarez, HOU 16.5 (-120 O / -110 U) 13
Christian Yelich, MIL 15.5 (-125 O/ -105 U) 13
Fernando Tatis Jr, SD 15.5 (-125 O/ -105 U) 11
Mike Trout, LAA 14.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 16
Ronald Acuna Jr, ATL 14.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Joey Gallo, TEX 14.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Eugenio Suarez, CIN 14.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 11
Giancarlo Stanton, NYY 14.0 (-115 O/-115 U) 16
Miguel Sano, MIN 14.0 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
Nelson Cruz, MIN 14.0 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Rhys Hoskins, PHI 13.5 (-120 O/-110 U) 13
Aaron Judge, NYY 13.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 13
Gleyber Torres, NYY 13.5 (-125 O/-105 U) 13
Eloy Jimenez, CHW 13.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
Bryce Harper, PHI 12.5 (-130 O/+100 U) 15
Gary Sanchez, NYY 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 9
Josh Donaldson, MIN 12.5 (-125 O/-105 U) 13
Juan Soto, WSH 12.5 (-125 O/-105 U) 13
Austin Meadows, TB 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
Kyle Schwarber, CHC 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 12
Edwin Encarnacion, CHW 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
JD Martinez, BOS 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Nolan Arenado, COL 12.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Francisco Lindor, CLE 12.0 (-115 O/-115 U) 13
Josh Bell, PIT 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
Manny Machado, SD 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 14
Paul Goldschmidt, STL 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 11
Kris Bryant, CHC 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 11
Rafael Devers, BOS 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 12
Freddie Freeman, ATL 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 11
Alex Bregman, HOU 11.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 12
Mookie Betts, LAD 11.0 (-115 O/-115 U) 11
Anthony Rizzo, CHC 10.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 12
Javier Baez, CHC 10.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 12
Anthony Rendon, LAA 9.5 (-115 O/-115 U) 10
Vladimir Guerrero Jr, TOR 8.5 (-120 O/-110 U) 9

Odds as of July 8th. 

When you line these up next to the 2020 MVP Odds, you’ll notice that Christian Yelich is the only MVP candidate favored to dominate in home runs. Pete Alonso doesn’t currently sit among the top five, while Cody Bellinger has slid to fifth.

In the AL, Mike Trout is the runaway leader for MVP, but his home-run total sits two behind Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez currently sits at +4000 on the AL MVP board.

2020 Cy Young Odds Tracker

COVID-19 Concerns Mean Stay Away from Gallo, Freeman Overs

As news of positive COVID-19 tests among MLB players have started to make the rounds, two prominent names have stood out: Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers.

While the recovery timeline is different for everyone, the virus seems to have hit Freeman hard.

Gallo, meanwhile, has tested positive twice and negative twice. So there’s some confusion surrounding his situation.

While the slugger seems asymptomatic, he still has yet to join the Rangers for workouts.

If Gallo’s season starts on time, he’ll be playing catch-up to the rest of the league. For Freeman, his status is much more murky. The home run overs will be tough to achieve in either case.

What to do with Fernando Tatis Jr?

At first glance, it might be surprising to see Tatis Jr tied for the third-highest total.

But based on Baseball Reference’s simulated stats and Tatis’ 2019 season, maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking.

Fernando Tatis Jr Home Run Rate

92 Games 84
21 Home Runs 22
0.228 Home Runs/Game 0.261
13.7 60-Game Total 15.7

For an even deeper comparison, his HR/Game across the minors from 2016-18 was 0.153, which equals 9.2 home runs over 60 games.

As I said in our case for his NL MVP candidacy, health is the great equalizer with Tatis Jr. There’s a lot to like in the MVP race, but the under is the play here.

Expect Plenty of Home Runs from Harper, Guerrero Jr

While it may take a significant investment, both Bryce Harper and Vladimir Guerrero Jr should hit pay dirt with their overs.

With Harper’s O/U set at 12.5, his HR/G since 2015 paint a favorable picture. His home-run rate over four of the last five seasons have him hitting the over in a full 60 games. The universal DH should help keeps his at-bats up in a shortened season.

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For Guerrero Jr, we know the home-run power is there. As a 20-year old with just 464 at-bats, Guerrero was 107th in average exit velocity, and 113th in barrels with 29. Not groundbreaking, but it’s close to Juan Soto’s rookie year.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr Pre and Post All-Star Break

Pre-All Star
Post All-Star
225 At-Bats 239
13 Doubles 13
8 Home Runs 7
25 RBI 44
.249 Average .293
.328 On-Base Percentage .349
.413 Slugging Percentage .452

While the home-run total isn’t eye-popping post-All Star break, keep in mind that includes zero September home runs in 82 September at-bats.

But all of Guerrero Jr’s other numbers were up.

So long as he gets off to a hot start, we’ll pair Vladdy Jr with Harper as two candidates to go over their totals this summer.

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